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Cathay Pacific sees weaker air cargo peak season this year

A Cathay Pacific Cargo Boeing 747-8F descends before landing at Hong Kong Airport in Hong Kong

(Reuters) -Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said on Thursday that the peak season for air cargo this year may not be as strong as last year because of supply chain snags, the impact of inflation on consumer demand and China's COVID-19 policies.

"We expect that this year's peak season may not be the same as last year's," Cathay freight executives said in an email update to air cargo clients.

The fourth quarter is typically the peak season for air cargo because of consumer electronics product launches and the busy Christmas holiday period. Many air freight carriers reported record revenue in the peak season last year.

Cathay has been relying on cargo for the majority of its revenue during the pandemic because of Hong Kong's strict COVID-related quarantine rules for passengers and crew.

The Baltic Exchange Air Freight Index fell 1.1% last week, dragging it into negative year-on-year territory for the first time in many months to be 2.3% below last year, TAC Index said on Wednesday.

"There has not been much sign yet of prices firming up as the market approaches the traditional peak season," the calculator of the Baltic index said in a weekly update.

(Reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kenneth Maxwell)